I’ll kick off as always with Ted Lasso because that’s what I have instead of therapy. But then I’m rocking the new golden age of sci fi. FOUNDATION drops today or tomorrow, depending on the international date line. I’ve got the darker, gnarlier S2 of SEE to endure, and I’ve been saving THE EXPANSE until I’m done with THE LAST KINGDOM on Netflix. TLK isn’t SF, of course, and its not fantasy either. More like historical action/drama I guess. But it’s been my long form watch for the last couple of weeks and I’ve enjoyed it bigly. So much so that I’m glad to have something to go to when I’m done.
All the Foundation chat is about whether it becomes the new Game of Thrones, which it probably won’t because it’s on Apple TV and they just don’t have the cultural reach yet - although the free TV subscription with all the new iPhones might help. I reckon tagging something the new GoT is like anointing someone with a couple of centuries and a 47.01 batting average the New Bradman. You’re setting everyone up for disappointment.
I read Foundation decades ago as a teenager and don’t recall being blown away by it but that’s probably an advantage for the producers. As I recall it didn’t have a cast iron narrative structure. It was more like lots of ideas thrown at the wall in the hope some would stick. I think it might have been the scope and scale that made it special. We’ll see.
The Guardian has a pretty good write up of the new golden age which makes an interesting point about TV writers using SF settings to tell the sort of stores the ancient Greeks would understand.
While Star Trek, too, is thriving in the current sci-fi landscape, with no less than five series currently in production, it seems unlikely to cross the final frontier into the halls of prestige sci-fi. For Nunn, this comes down to one thing: aliens. While the golden age shows of the 90s relied heavily on prosthetics – and, in the case of Farscape, puppets – to present characters from other worlds, today’s sombre offerings dwell solely on human problems. “With Battlestar Galactica, you’ve got robots, but you haven’t got aliens,” Nunn points out. “And The Expanse is similar. So they can be read as science fiction but also dystopias, whereas Star Trek and Babylon 5 and Farscape, even Stargate, all had alien life-forms at their core.”
Foundation may include the odd alien being as set-dressing – majestic sea-monsters float under the waves of one planet, while vicious wolf-cum-lizard creatures stalk the deserts of another – but only humans have any impact on the story.
Worth a read if your interests go that way. It reminds me that For All Mankind is also due back on screen soon. For my money it was one of the best shows of 2020.